skip to main content

Listen

Read

Watch

Schedules

Programs

Events

Give

Account

Donation Heart Ribbon

David Alvarez Supporters Analyze Loss In San Diego Mayoral Runoff Election

Evening Edition

Above: San Diegans who pounded the pavement in hopes of bringing the city’s first Latino mayor into office gathered over the weekend to discuss why Councilman David Alvarez lost the election last February. Fronteras reporter Jill Replogle tells us that changing demographics is behind one theory.

Aired 4/14/14 on KPBS News.

San Diegans who pounded the pavement in hopes of bringing the city’s first Latino mayor into office gathered over the weekend to discuss why San Diego City Councilman David Alvarez lost the mayoral election last February.

San Diegans who pounded the pavement in hopes of bringing the city’s first Latino mayor into office gathered over the weekend to discuss why San Diego City Councilman David Alvarez lost the mayoral election last February.

Some 75 people, including Alvarez, took part in the post-election diagnosis at the Centro Cultural de la Raza in Balboa Park.

Campaign leaders, community activists and experts on Latino voters presented data and theories about the defeat. For one thing, voter turnout was undeniably low — about 44 percent. And turnout was even lower in most districts that traditionally vote Democrat.

Chicano Studies professor Isidro Ortiz also suggested that the traditional electorate might be fearful of the growing size and influence of Latinos and other minority groups. And that this could be pushing them to the right.

“White independents who could be theoretically a target of a campaign like David’s are, in this situation, tending to move toward conservatism and to vote Republican,” Ortiz said.

Alvarez said he thought Mayor Kevin Faulconer's campaign had played on racial fears to win the election.

Some observers have criticized Alvarez for not working harder to court voters from the middle and even right side of the political spectrum. But he defended his campaign.

“I think what no one’s really talked about is how many people I might have lost had I not stood with my values and what I believed in, and tried to be somebody who I wasn’t,” Alvarez said. “For me it’s always been about being who I am and always being true to that. Because I think, at the end of the day, voters can see right through that.”

Alvarez’s supporters plan to hold other post-election forums in the coming months.

Comments

Avatar for user 'progressivebuthey'

progressivebuthey | April 14, 2014 at 1:28 p.m. ― 5 months ago

well, alvarez said it succinctly --- "being about who I am." so if that's true, we didn't buy that character. ain't about latino. his values and experiences aren't jiving with the average electorate.

( | suggest removal )

Avatar for user 'JeanMarc'

JeanMarc | April 14, 2014 at 2:11 p.m. ― 5 months ago

No one wants a dumb kid to run one of the largest cities in the country, especially not a militant leftist.

( | suggest removal )

Avatar for user 'AndyC'

AndyC | April 14, 2014 at 2:27 p.m. ― 5 months ago

Alvarez and the unions ran a base campaign, knowing that base Democratic voters typically don't show up in mid-term and special elections. Their strategy apparently was to rile up the base and drive enough of them to the polls to overcome the Republican advantage in special elections. They completely ignored the more centrist Democrats--the ones who likely voted for Nathan Fletcher, or maybe grudgingly voted for Faulconer in the primary.

Had they been asked, many of those voters might have voted for Alvarez. Only they weren't asked.

Faulconer, on the other hand, went out of his way to court those voters. He ran as far away from the Republican base--knowing they would show up and vote for him regardless--and painted as moderate, centrist a picture as he possibly could.

Faulconer's strategy worked like a charm; Alvarez' backfired spectacularly.

Here's a broader recap of what went wrong for Alvarez and the Dems:

http://politicsoffootball.wordpress.com/2014/03/12/rethinking-san-diegos-democratic-electoral-strategy/

( | suggest removal )

Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | April 14, 2014 at 3:18 p.m. ― 5 months ago

More people in San Diego probably agree with Alvarez's politics, but turnout is everything and older, white voters tend to turn out in higher numbers on off-year/special elections, so once again we are left with leadership that's not representative of the community at large.

AndyC, you say Faluconer "went out of his way" to court moderate voters.

There is a huge difference between courting voters before you are elected and then actually doing what you say while in office. Let's see how Faulconer behaves over the next year.

( | suggest removal )

Avatar for user 'AndyC'

AndyC | April 14, 2014 at 4:01 p.m. ― 5 months ago

Peking-

You're right, there is a huge difference between what one says while running for office and what one does while in office. Still, what a candidate SAYS during the campaign is what gets him (or her) elected in the first place. Faulconer won because he presented himself as the centrist non-partisan-ish candidate.

What happened during the mayoral race really doesn't matter anymore, except insofar as we can learn from those mistakes and apply them to the midterm election. There are two city council seats up for grabs that were in Republican hands, as well as a Congressional District seat that will be hotly contested. Whether or not Democrats learn from the Alvarez experience will go a long way toward determining if those races are competitive, or if the Republican runs away with them like Faulconer did the mayor's race.

You know the base voters don't show up, so don't make them the focal point of your campaign. Employ the same GOTV efforts, but instead of reaching for the left, reach toward the center. The way I see it, you can either win an election by broadening your appeal, or you can lose by running an ideological, base centric race. I'd rather play to win than to make a point.

( | suggest removal )

Avatar for user 'gysandiegoy'

gysandiegoy | April 16, 2014 at 9:31 a.m. ― 5 months ago

To be an elected official is to represent the views of the voters who elected you. Not to represent what is in your heart or your party believes. You bring that to the table for sure, but the best candidates are the ones who are asking what is important to others.

GOP candidates (the successful ones) in a majority Democratic town have to humble themselves to understand and represent the views of others at times. That resonates with the voting public.

At times both parties believe (or act like they know) what is best for us. The way around that problem is to find out what voters want. Shocking I know.

( | suggest removal )

Avatar for user 'gysandiegoy'

gysandiegoy | April 16, 2014 at 9:34 a.m. ― 5 months ago

The sooner that both parties see that Decline To State voters are not a member of their party for a reason, and learn to appeal to that bock of voters, the more success that they will have. IMHO

( | suggest removal )

Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | April 16, 2014 at 9:51 a.m. ― 5 months ago

Regressivebooty, WHOSE "values"???

( | suggest removal )

Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | April 16, 2014 at 9:52 a.m. ― 5 months ago

Dumb kid, John Markkk??? You most be an ornery old man.

( | suggest removal )

Avatar for user 'thompsonrichard'

thompsonrichard | April 16, 2014 at 10:28 a.m. ― 5 months ago

This article reminds me of the time during the summer of '62 when I was stacking hay for the Medicine Wheel Ranch in Wyoming. An elderly Crow Indian was riding into Sheridan, some 45 miles away, but his wife wasn't. "Why isn't your wife riding?" Answer: "She doesn't have a horse."

( | suggest removal )

Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | April 16, 2014 at 10:39 a.m. ― 5 months ago

Unfortunately, having two huge political parties seems to be on track for continuing in this country and indeed getting stronger, thanks in large part to the two terrible decisions by the Supreme Court: Citizen's united McCutcheon v. FEC.

People should be outraged by these decisions, the justices that swung the court this way are un-doing protections put into place after Watergate. Experts also agree that this will only strengthen the two party system because now funds can be raised collectively by the parties.

Our elections at all levels have been bought and paid for a long time, but they are becoming more so. And, it's becoming increasingly impossible for anyone to be a viable candidate who is not in one of the two major political parties.

The SCOTUS is destroying our political process.

Soon, it won't matter who we vote for because if people like Justice Thomas have their way, Old Man Adelson and the crotchety old billionaire Cock Brothers will be deciding our elections outright.

( | suggest removal )

Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | April 16, 2014 at 10:40 a.m. ― 5 months ago

Oh my word, auto-correct has a mind of its own :O

( | suggest removal )

Avatar for user 'DeLaRick'

DeLaRick | April 16, 2014 at 3:58 p.m. ― 5 months ago

A post-election meeting to determine why a particular candidate lost is standard procedure. It's a stretch to call his supporters sore losers. Does anyone remember the RNC's meeting after Mitt Romney's defeat? Ironically enough for David Alvarez, the main topic at the RNC's meeting was how to broaden their appeal with Latino voters. The RNC had every right to have that meeting and discuss whatever they wanted. Alvarez' supporters have the same right, too.

( | suggest removal )

Avatar for user 'deprotinator'

deprotinator | April 17, 2014 at 9:24 a.m. ― 5 months ago

I haven't seen any voter turnout stats based on demographics. I'd like to know how many Asians came out to vote for Alvarez. I suspect not many. I doubt the campaign was actively ignoring this demographic, but as far as I can tell, there were no real efforts to court this group who are 1) democratic leaning and 2) don't like to vote. Obama got their vote in both elections, but I don't think Alvarez did. Again, it would be good to see the statistics.

( | suggest removal )

Avatar for user 'JeanMarc'

JeanMarc | April 17, 2014 at 12:49 p.m. ― 5 months ago

Another funny thing about Asians is when leftists compile their statistics about struggling disadvantaged minorities they always leave out the Asians. Strange, isn't it?

Maybe it is because Asians come to this country with even more barriers than a 4th generation American minority, and they succeed beyond even the white folks. They face language and discrimination barriers just like any other minority, why aren't all the Chinese people poor and uneducated, pumping out babies and living off the government? Hmm?

( | suggest removal )

Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | April 17, 2014 at 7:16 p.m. ― 5 months ago

What ABOUT Asians, John Markkk? Among the Iraqis, it is the Chaldeans who have the HIGHEST per capita income coming here to the USA. But that doesn't prevents white anglo saxon protestants like yourself from discriminating them or making generalizations about them.

( | suggest removal )

Avatar for user 'DeLaRick'

DeLaRick | April 18, 2014 at 9:45 a.m. ― 5 months ago

Feeling the need to "approve" of an ethnic minority is just as misguided as disapproving of one. JM, I urge you not to go to Korea Town in LA. You won't like what you see and hear. They couldn't possibly care less about assimilating into American culture. Then again, not assimilating into American culture is now part of our culture. Strange, huh?

( | suggest removal )

Avatar for user 'JeanMarc'

JeanMarc | April 21, 2014 at 8:25 a.m. ― 4 months, 4 weeks ago

Did I say anything about assimilating? I only addressed their ability to overcome the hurdles that all other immigrants and minorities face, and succeed in life instead of standing their demanding free housing and more food stamps.

( | suggest removal )

Avatar for user 'philosopher3000'

philosopher3000 | April 22, 2014 at 6:36 a.m. ― 4 months, 4 weeks ago

33% of our electorate (those people who actually register to vote) now refuse to identify as Republican or Democrat. These so called 'Independents' are conservatives who don't care to be associate with Republicans, and a smaller number of progressives or left leaning liberals who reject the Democratic Party.

Alvarez decided to appeal to the Unions and hard core Democrats, but he didn't even try listen to the concerns of conservative whites north of I-8. A mayor must represent ALL the people of the City, not just his constituency, or his Party. He must be willing to compromise with those who have different values.

Faulconer pretends to listen to liberal issues like homelessness, even if his policies will be pro-business and elitist. He agrees that the concerns of liberals about open government and neighborhoods are valid, even while ignoring neighborhoods and minimizing City spending upon transparency.

You can not win a City wide election with either party alone. You need a majority of independent voters, and so to win you must play to their concerns. San Diego is a military industrial complex, it is a business friendly town, with a wealthy population who wish to conserve their lifestyle and jobs. They don't want to redistribute wealth to poor neighborhoods or inner-city ghettos like barrio logan. In playing to his base, David reinforced the racial demographics of his upbringing, and failed to acknowledge the realities or our City's history, much less present values on which everyone could buy-in.

Next time you get $2-million from Sacramento and D.C. don't waste it on conservative media broadcasting. Hire people to walk neighborhoods, organize community meetings in areas that are NOT likely to support you, and invite their local leaders to share their concerns.

( | suggest removal )

Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | April 22, 2014 at 9:37 a.m. ― 4 months, 4 weeks ago

Is that Bonnie D there on the left . . . side of the pix?

( | suggest removal )

Avatar for user 'JeanMarc'

JeanMarc | April 24, 2014 at 11:55 a.m. ― 4 months, 3 weeks ago

San Diego is business friendly? Raising the minimum wage to $13/hour and having an 8% sales tax is business friendly?

( | suggest removal )